I’m a perpetual wanderer. Or so I’d like to be.
Travel, as you may well know, is a huge part of who I am. I love to explore new places, discover new cultures, experience new parts of myself. All the cliché things that those who travel often say.
Yet, lately, I haven’t so much experienced my usual wanderlust but, rather, something the Germans call Fernweh.
It’s a bit like wanderlust, you see. A longing to travel, to wander off to the far off places, to explore the places you’ve never known. The key difference though, lies in the felt nature of the words.
From my understanding, Fernweh encompasses all that is wanderlust… with the caveat that the longing is more of a homesickness.
How can you be homesick for a place you’ve never been, you ask? If only I had the answer. Somehow though, I’ve felt this feeling.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been pining for a little place called Portland, Oregon. Ah yes, the so-called hipster capital of America. Where food is farm-to-table. Where there are bike paths everywhere. Where there is over 10,000 acres of public parks.
I’ve never been to Portland. And sure, it sounds picturesque but, if I’m being honest, I’m not exactly the “highly walkable city” type. Nor the farm-to-table type. Nor the hiking-every-chance-I-get type. Not to say I don’t like the sound of an environmentally conscious city but, it’s not exactly my passion.
But here I am, experiencing Fernweh for Portland, Oregon. I miss the city. Truly. I couldn’t tell you how that’s possible but, I have this insatiable yearning to return there. Like I’ve been there before.
Our minds are funny things. They play tricks on us all the time. So maybe this is my mind playing an early April Fools on me. Or maybe Fernweh is real and I somehow feel homesick for a place I’ve never been.
Now, who wants to go to Portland with me?